The Simpsons paid tribute to Woody Allen in their latest episode, ‘Love Is A Many Splintered Thing‘, aired 10th Feb 2013 in the US. It was the 520th episode of the long running series.
Allen has been mentioned, referenced, portrayed and parodied in many Simpsons episodes over its 24 season career, but this episode was by far the most overt tribute.
It started with the credits. A black screen with a similar font to the one Woody Allen uses for their title card, followed by Bart Simpson, dressed as Alvy Singer from Annie Hall, with the faded brown background, telling a few jokes about love.
We then cut to Bart’s story, and his break up with Mary Spuckler (Zooey Deschanel), and Woody Allen appears! We are not sure who did the Allen impression, but it was one of the regular cast, and we assume its Harry Shearer. He makes several jokes and references two of his films – Purple Rose Of Cairo and Mighty Aphrodite.
He then takes Mary and Bart to film, such as in many a Woody Allen film. They watch a Jean Renoir film, ‘La Règle Du Jeu‘ (‘The Rules Of the Game‘), but the two kids fall asleep.
The plot takes over there, as Bart as well as Homer seek to repair their relationships. The episodes nods to another director, Richard Curtis, and his film ‘Love Actually‘, and features a cameo by Benedict Cumberbach.
Occasionally we cut back to Bart as Alvy Singer, and that’s where the episode ends when Lisa appears, dressed as Annie Hall.
But stay for the end as Woody Allen appears again, and has one final conversation with Bart – with a nice joke about Antz.
All in all a very fun episode. It is the second time Allen appeared in the Simpsons this season, and his influence on popular culture is as strong as ever. Well worth checking out for any Woody Allen fan.